top of page

Decarbonizing Urban Mobility

Time: Monday 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Units: 3-0-9, Fall 2021


Jinhua Zhao (

Andrew Salzberg (



Transportation is now the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and constitutes 23% of energy related emissions globally. As such, it represents a major obstacle to achieving a fully decarbonized world by 2050, a necessary condition for keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees celsius. The course will focus on measuring and reducing emissions from passenger transportation, primarily in urban areas, usingmultidisciplinary approaches. The focus will be on North America, but we will explore global examples as much as possible.


After setting the stage in current travel, energy, and climate conditions, the course will review existing approaches to transport decarbonization including increasing adoption of more energy efficient modes like public transport, walking, and cycling; vehicle electrification; and policies like low emission zones and carbon taxes. Next, the course will evaluate more recent mobility technologies through the lens of their potential to contribute to (or delay) a zero emission mobility system, covering carshare, bikeshare, e-scooters, ridehailing, autonomous vehicles, and passenger drones.  Finally, students will be asked to consider the policy and political approaches required to achieve change. Key case studies of both past successes and failures will be used to ground the course in current realities.



Jinhua Zhao

Associate Professor, Director of MIT Mobility Initiative


 Andrew Salzberg

Head of Policy - Transit

bottom of page